NHRA Carolinas Nationals
Worsham aims to spin a web in Charlotte
Actually, Worsham will be playing a pair of roles during this weekend's drama, as he also enters the Inaugural Carolinas Nationals as both spoiler and race fan. Making his first trip to zMax Dragway at
"When we heard about this new track, we were all psyched-up about it, to say the least," Worsham said. "Then, things got a little delayed and we were all worried that they'd get it done in time. I guess we should've just realized who was building it and not worried about it, because every report I've heard is that it will knock you over. The guys who have been there say there's no way to compare it to any other track, because it's that much of a huge step up from everything we've ever seen. It seems like everyone has been watching the progress on the internet, as they moved dirt, put in the first footings, and then built the whole place.
"It's an all-concrete surface, and I'm sure NHRA and the track people will be doing a great job getting it prepped, so we expect to be able to be very aggressive this weekend. The weather will be the final factor, not the track, and that's fair enough. We all have to deal with the same weather, so give us the best possible track and we'll put on the best possible race. I really am seriously looking forward to this, and I hope we can transfer the excitement into results. A big win for us, even a good day, would go a long way toward making the end of this season way better than the beginning."
Worsham's season has been sprinkled with lows (four DNQs), as well as highs (the Houston victory and a last-chance berth in the US Smokeless Showdown, in which he advanced to the semi-final) but it has also featured more than his share of close losses despite solid qualifying efforts.
"We must lead the world in qualifying well and then drawing one of the top teams out here in round one," Worsham said. "If it's not Ron Capps, it's Robert Hight. If it's not Robert, it Tim Wilkerson, just like at Indy. We qualified 8th in a very tough field, which is something to be proud of, and for our reward we got the baddest dude in the class in round one. We ran great there, probably running well enough to beat anyone but Tim. It's been like that all year.
"Now, the drama is over. We're not counting points, we're not worried about qualifying. We're going to let it all hang out, and we're going to put all the rest of the story out of our minds. From here on out, I don't care who we race in the first round. Whoever it is, they're going to have to beat our best effort, and if they're in the Countdown there's going to be a lot more pressure on them than there is on us. Our series may not become the NHRA Full Throttle Series until next year, but I promise we'll be full-throttle on a every lap from here on out. Beat us if you can."
One thing Worsham can apparently be assured of is racing, this weekend, if front of a packed house. zMAX Dragway may be the newest, and it may be one of the largest drag strips ever built, but it's accolades won't stop there. Word of massive ticket sales have filtered back to the teams, and everyone is excited to bring the NHRA brand of motorsports to the
"From what we're hearing, the crowds are going to be awesome," Worsham said. "We race in front of some very big crowds throughout the year, but I have a feeling this is going to be really noticeable and really intense. It's a totally new market for us, and it's a very important one, so it's up to us to give them their money's worth and turn them all into lifetime NHRA fans. I think, once they tour the pits and sniff the nitro, that they're going to be blown away, and once we get out on the track the whole atmosphere, and the sheer power of it, will knock them dead.
"We get awfully wound up in our own world, racing the cars and focusing on the track, and I'll admit we often forget there are even people in the stands. We interact with them all day in the pits, which is what's great about NHRA Drag Racing, but once we're out there on the track, we get into a zone. I'm pretty sure every person, on every team, is going to take a few minutes to look up, look around, and take notice of where we are this weekend. I know I will, but after that it's back in the zone. Once we're suited up and ready to go, the goal is to make all the Countdown teams take a back seat to us, at the first-ever Charlotte race."
What a fine web to weave. Worsham and his web-mates will begin the process on Friday, when Funny Car qualifying begins at 3:30 p.m.
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